As a young teenager, Brian came in touch with some of the worst aspects of growing up on an inner London Estate.
Although he never carried a gun himself, he knew friends who did, justifying the weapons as protection in the estate wars known as ‘beef’. In these, simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time could lead to beatings and serious injury.
Brian had had a number of run ins with the police (fortunately avoiding prison) when a chance meeting led to a big change in his life.
Brian, himself takes up the story.
'I got involved with Positive View’s ‘Take Aim. Shoot!’ project through Dennis Gyamfi, who is an Ambassador for Positive View. I saw him walking through my estate and I approached him to have a conversation.
He started telling me about a photography programme he was running. This interested me as I had been told I took really good photos even though I knew nothing about things like apertures, ISOs or shutter speeds.
Through the workshop I gained a very good understanding of these operations and I have been taking photos ever since.
Photography really helps with patience and focus when you want perfection. I have also gained an interest in people because I use people as my subject.
I will encourage others to take up photography. For myself, I believe it will keep me out of trouble and hopefully on the right path.'
Positive View uses photography to empower disadvantaged young people on some of inner London’s poorest estates. It helps them acquire new skills while building the confidence and self-esteem that leads to a positive, fulfilling future and a sense of community.
The programme, delivered by Positive View, is presently taking place on some of London’s most notorious estates including the Battersea Estate in South London. Here young people think nothing of staying out all night in an environment where gun and knife crime is rife.
Away from school, youngsters growing up there are faced with a host of temptations that can lead to violence, crime or worse. As a result, it becomes a major challenge for any young person wanting to grow up as a positive member of the community.